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Why charcoal toothpaste is actually damaging your teeth.

By Sasha Curry

You have a beautiful smile. A smile worth a proper, well-informed care routine. 

The “age of online information” has made for a profusion of options/opinions to care for our teeth, all at our fingertips. At M Street Dental, we take pride in eliminating the fluff, helping you to create an educated routine backed by science and first-hand experience.   

Today we’ll be discussing charcoal toothpaste and why it may be actually damaging your teeth. 

Products such as charcoal toothpaste are often picked up by online influencers/ bloggers who lobby the public with reckless abandon and a lack of industry-relevant experience. 

While there are surely safe and effective natural products worth exploring, we strongly recommend building your oral care routine around practices and opinions that are backed up by the support of trained dental professionals. 

And that of course, is where we step in.

Let’s explore.

Charcoal Toothpaste: The suggested benefits

The charcoal in toothpaste is typically derived from either bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, olive pits, or sawdust. The theory is that this hotly debated ingredient will work to absorb and remove stains caused by foods like red wine, coffee, and tea. 

Charcoal is safely used in water filtration systems, treatment of drug and alcohol overdoses, and food poisoning. It can be used under these circumstances because it has been thoroughly vetted by the scientific community and is shown to effectively aid in such situations without causing any damage in the process. 

Can the same be said for charcoal toothpaste? We spoke with our team at M Street, and here’s what they had to say.

The TRUTH about charcoal toothpaste

What do our dentists have to say?

M Street Dental experts all agree that the abrasiveness of charcoal toothpaste is far more detrimental than the supposed benefits. We recommend to our patients to use Colgate Total toothpaste without whitening agents. 

It is our opinion that the charcoal toothpaste industry is trying to fill the gap for people looking for natural alternatives to regular toothpaste. While looking for natural toothpaste options may seem intriguing, the unfortunate truth is that they rarely achieve the results they claim to be able to. Not to mention, they can cause irreversible damage to your teeth in the process.

Charcoal Toothpaste: The damage

By using charcoal toothpaste incorrectly or too often, you run the risk of:

Eroding Enamel - enamel does not come back.

Short Term Gain - your teeth may look whiter at first, but can eventually appear worse than before due to the thinning of enamel, thus, exposing more of the inner dentin which is darker. 

Tooth Sensitivity/ Succeptibilty to tooth decay - loss of enamel from the abrasive nature of charcoal toothpaste can leave your teeth more sensitive with an increased risk of tooth decay.

Wasting your time and money - charcoal toothpaste may temporarily remove some surface stains; however, it doesn’t remove intrinsic stains below the enamel.   

What does the ADA (American Dental Association) have to say?

As it stands, the American Dental Association has yet to sign off on charcoal toothpaste as a safe and effective natural alternative. Due to a lack of clinical and laboratory data, this trendy alternative has remained on the fringe as the stats just don’t substantiate the claims. The ADA maintains that charcoal toothpaste should be avoided until further studies have concluded otherwise. 

How can I whiten my teeth without charcoal toothpaste?

If you’re looking to whiten your teeth, we recommend:

Custom gel-filled whitening trays: to be used at home along with supervision from your dentist.

Whitening strips: a great option while on a budget. 

In-office whitening: works wonders and is administered by our experts who know all the ins and outs of achieving that perfect smile. 

Make an effort to limit or reduce the consumption of foods known to stain teeth (coffee, black tea, red wine, etc.). 

Shop for your teeth safely

We all want what’s best for the health of our body and mind. At times, it can feel like the options are endless. When shopping for products for your teeth, we recommend searching for those with the ADA seal of approval (ADA approved shopping list).  

As always, M Street is here to help you achieve and maintain a smile that makes you feel your best. Book an appointment with us today to have any of your questions answered. We can’t wait to hear from you.

From all of us at M Street Dental,

Stay smiling!

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